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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a selection of the interpretations and reuses of Egyptian hieroglyphs and monumental inscriptions in medieval Arabic manuscripts dating from the tenth through the sixteenth centuries ce. The focus is on the genre of so-called alphabet books, which sometimes include extensive lists with hieroglyphic characters. Depending on the sources, these were interpreted either as logograms or as phonograms. A considerable amount of the earlier, mostly logographic, explanations document a still existing, more or less correctly transmitted knowledge of individual hieroglyphs and their respective functions. In contrast, the later, phonetic interpretations (notably in The Book of the Seven Climes) seemingly mark a secondary reuse of signs as elements of substitution codes without obvious links to their original functions.

Keywords: medieval, Arabic, manuscript, reuse, hieroglyph, alphabet, book, Seven Climes, code

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